14th January 2002, 7pm
chilly but remarkably wind free until near the end
27 mins United took the lead from the penalty spot on 27 minutes
when Lomana LuaLua converted after Olivier Bernard was brought down
on the edge of the box. Referee Eddie Ilderton, who had denied Bernard an
earlier penalty claim, waved away Rovers' protests this time before LuaLua
stepped up to score. 1-0
40 mins Shola Ameobi
made it 2-0 five minutes before the break racing onto a through ball
before touching it round the keeper and knocking into the unguarded goal.
Half time: Newcastle Reserves 2
55 mins Jamie Coppinger
made it 3-0 after 55 minutes with a firm shot from just inside the box 3-0
58 mins Ameobi headed his
second, and United's fourth, three minutes later from a Wayne Quinn cross. 4-0
Full time: Newcastle Reserves 4 Blackburn 0
"I thought the two centre-halves did well. It was good for Marcelino to get a game under his belt."
"I thought it
was an OK performance but I expected more. We were giving the ball away a
lot in the first-half. There was a certain lethargy in our play."
Having endured a 2-4 home defeat in the
last home reserve game of 2001, the lads began 2002 in more positive
fashion with a convincing scoreline in what was a one-sided game.
Right from the off the Magpies looked more adept on the ball and wiling to
work off it, Rovers seeming reluctant to get involved and generally
disappointing from front to back.
Playing his first game since the away reserve encounter against Rovers
back in August, Marcelino's first involvement was to give away a free kick
after six minutes. Thereafter he played reasonably competently, given the
paucity of the opposition and was replaced four minutes from
time. leaving the field to a generous round of applause.
He was greeted with a handshake from Tommy Craig before he left to get
changed, the United coach having studiously ignored some plaintive Spanish
glances for the previous quarter of an hour.....
While there's nothing wrong with applauding a player for his efforts, the
wider picture is still a depressing one. Despite being on a sizeable wage
and having the best of medical attention (who are consistently unable to
find anything wrong with him despite numerous scans etc.) two reserve run
outs in six months doesn't warrant a cheer from me.
We can only hope that some misguided fool from another club was at
Kingston Park and saw something in the Spanish waster that will result in
a bid or a move - just getting the bloke out of the club and seeing him
play more than once in a blue moon would be a start.
The frustrating thing is that he's a talented player, once deservedly in
the international bracket and tonight showing some deft touches that
confirm his pedigree. The plain facts are though that he's a gutless and
heartless conman, happy to pick up his wages for nowt. Obviously lacking
in professional pride or personal conscience, he's the very worst type of
sportsman - one who is content to be rewarded and who can play, but
chooses not to. A well remunerated waster.
Contrast that with a willing trier of limited ability - i'm sure you can
come up with a few names from our recent past that fit into that category.
Christ knows what the younger players at the club think of him; hopefully
they hold him in the contempt he deserves.
Back to the action, and while we failed to play to our full potential, the
result was never in doubt once Shola added a second goal just before the
interval, leaving the crowd to speculate whether the tally of six achieved
against Villa earlier in the season was attainable.
In the event it proved not to be, but at least Steve Harper kept a rare
clean sheet and was only rarely tested. Indeed, his major contribution to
proceedings was a running commentary on United's play, ranging from
frequent "get out, get out" cries to alert his defence to
comments about our forward line and their inability to remain onside
(cries of "how many times?" and "lazy")
echoing round the ground.
Harper almost claimed an assist with one almighty hoof downfield in the
first half that Shola knocked on for Copps to try and lob the keeper, only
to slightly misjudge the distance and allow Robinson in goal to reach and
claim the ball above his head.
Almost inevitably things became less fluid as substitutions were made by
Newcastle, with LuaLua the first to go (it was later established that he'd
left the ground before the final whistle and was off to Mali for the
African Nations Cup.)
However Mark Boyd did display some good touches in midfield, and his
passing was as accurate as usual.
Rovers made a triple change and thereafter threatened more in the
Newcastle half, but it was all a bit half-hearted and one-dimensional,
with no real penetration to speak of, the toon defence standing firm.
A captain's performance from Brian Kerr deservedly won him our vote for
man of the match, with David Cowan also impressing in his battle against
one-time toon transfer target Egil Ostenstad - Marcelino wasn't trusted to